Ed Collins – School of Agriculture, Policy & Development
Personal capture software was used as a method of coaching, facilitating good study practice and identifying milestones for students in order to develop excellent assignments over two modules at undergraduate level. The impact of the project delivered was two-fold. From a student’s perspective, it enabled the students to prepare independently for the various assessments allowing them to re-listen to the advice given. From a lecturer’s perspective, it decreased to amount of face-to-face contact hours whilst maintaining high standards of tutelage.
The objective of the project was to offer an enhanced learning experience by adopting online personal capture tools to produce video resources. The focus was on helping the students prepare for the assessments that were associated with the module.
The project used 2 undergraduate modules: a second year Marketing Management module with 120 students and a final year Business strategy module with 70 students. The modules lent themselves to alternative knowledge delivery due the size of the cohort and also the types of assessment. The screen-cast allowed the students to prepare each element in an organised way but also allowed the students a certain degree of flexibility as it reduced the amount of face-to-face tutorials.
From the start, the students were involved in the process. Student reps were selected and were consulted after every recording. This helped to get traction from a student point of view but also to get a sense of the reception the recordings were getting. Making the students aware of the recordings was imperative and a follow-up email when they were released was sent out. The recordings were of me delivering to camera (without use of any slides). I chose this format as I felt the students would focus more on what I said and make their own notes, rather than depending on slides.
The objectives of the project were achieved. From a student’s perspective, they could download and listen to the videos at will and did so repeatedly. The recordings guided the student through the content delivered in the lecture but also through the development of the assessments. Sign-posting readings and suggesting best practice in the development of the assessment formed a structural point of view and formed the main thrust of the message of the recordings. An unexpected outcome was the reduction of face-to-face time I had with my students. There was less demand on my office hours which is both good and bad as I feel it is important to encourage the students to talk to their module leaders outside of class.
In my experience, Mediasite (the personal capture software used for the pilot project) did not work as smoothly as I had hoped. As a result, I adopted the software that my Dell computer recording studio offered. I am concerned that students may have unrealistic expectations about the quality of captured recordings. I feel that students are now used to high quality vlogging on YouTube and other platforms and may have an expectation that all videos produced as learning resources in their university experience need to be highly professional.
I plan to expand my use of personal capture in my practice to include the marking of scripts and giving students feedback, as well as preparing students for assignments. I will use post-graduate classes to test this in the forthcoming academic year. I will also be mentoring other staff members to use recordings as much as possible for their courses in the same context as myself during this project.